* Buying a cheaper car could cost you * Depreciation costs exposed * Are you a winner or loser?...

Keep your car until it’s fit for the scrap yard and depreciation ceases to be an issue. Change it every two, three or four years, though – as many motorists do – and resale value could be even more important than the price you pay for the car.

Unfashionable models are nearly always cheaper to buy new, some because they’re priced low to start with; others because dealers are prepared to offer big discounts. Whatever the reason, you can virtually guarantee they will be worth less than a desirable model when you come to sell.

Take the Audi A3 Sportback 2.0 TDI 140 Start/Stop Sport and Peugeot 308 2.0 HDi 140 Sport 5dr small family cars, for example. As you might expect, the A3 has a higher brochure price than the 308, and that price difference grows to a whopping £2544 once you’ve haggled your way to the What Car? Target Price, which is the realistic discount you should be able to achieve.

Sell the cars in three years, though, and it’s the Audi buyer who’ll be happier, because the A3 will still be worth a healthy £9900, while the Peugeot will recoup just £6750. That difference makes the extra purchase cost of the A3 less significant.

What is Target Price?
The What Car? Target Price is the most you should pay for your new car – never pay more. The Target Price is worked out by our team of mystery shoppers, who constantly haggle with dealers to get the best price. If your dealer won’t match the Target Price, contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one that will.

What is Three-Year Cost?
Our Three-Year Cost considers all the main bills you are likely to face during the first 36 months of ownership, assuming an annual mileage of 12,000. These are:
• The price you pay (minus the likely discount)
• Depreciation costs
• Fuel bills
• Insurance premiums
• Servicing costs
• Road tax